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Home   »  Top India Destinations   »  Ajanta Ellora

ajanta ellora caves

A Rendezvous with Ajanta & Ellora
Ritco ToursLocated near Aurangabad in Maharashtra, Ajanta and Ellora are cave shrines cut out of rock by hand. The exquisitely cut images in the caves are some of the most outstanding specimen of ancient Indian art forms. Though carved out thousands of years ago, these images still emanate an unimitable mesmerizing aura. The stunning art forms of the caves reflect the essence of three great religions - Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. The caves of Ajanta are located 100 km northeast of Ellora caves. The remarkable caves were designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in the year 1983.

Sightseeing in Ajanta & Ellora
» The Ajanta Caves : The Ajanta caves were discovered in a very dramatic fashion in the year 1819 when a group of British army officers went for hunting in the jungles of the place. The Ajanta group of caves lie deep within the Sahyadri hills above the Waghora river. The art forms inside the 30 caves depict the story of Buddhism spanning a period from 200 BC to 650 AD. It is believed that Buddhist monks who taught and performed rituals in the Chaityas and Viharas created these art forms to enhance their knowledge and impart lessons to their disciples. It is interesting to note that all the impressive figures have been carved out using simple tools like hammer and chisel. Many of the caves have panels depicting stories from the Jatakas that consist of many tales regarding the several incarnations of the Buddha. Apart from various other images, those of nymphs and princesses have also been elaborately portrayed.

» Ellora Caves : The Ellora caves total 34 in number and have been carved into the sides of a hill of basalt. The Ellora caves are regarded as the finest specimen of cave-temple architecture anywhere in the world. The 12 caves to the south are Buddhist (AD 600-800), 17 in the centre belong to Hinduism (AD 900) and 5 caves to the north are dedicated to Jainism (AD 800-1000). The sculptures in the Buddhist caves are an attempt at depicting the nobility, grace and serenity inherent in the Buddha. The caves belonging to Hinduism are dedicated to Vishwakarma, the patron saint of Indian craftsmen. The Vishvakarma cave also has Buddha placed in the stupa. Its two-storied structure sports a colorful pageant of dwarfs, dancing and making music. The caves of Ajanta and Ellora are a marvel of rock art forms in caves. A visit to the caves would be an enchanting experience.

Excursion from Ajanta & Ellora
Ritco ToursAfter the exotic caves at Aurangabad you can head for Mumbai - the city of dreams and Bollywood. Other nearby attractions which you should not miss are - Pune and Nasik. Mumbai has plethora of options for enthusiastic tourists, right from shopping malls to Chor Bazaar, from enthralling beaches to entertainment parks, discs to the Bollywood Studios - everyone finds some amusement here.

Most Ideal Time to Visit
The best time to visit the caves of Ajanta and Ellora would be the October-March period. Temperature in the area might rise up to 40 degrees during the summer months of April-June. The November-January winter period experiences chilly weather and night temperatures might fall to 5 degrees. But travelling in India under the winter sun is always a pleasant experience.

Getting There
» By Air : Aurangabad Airport (99 km from Ajanta and 30 km from Ellora) is the ideal base to visit Ajanta and Ellora for the air travellers. The airport is directly linked to Delhi, Udaipur, Jaipur, and Mumbai. But from Aurangabad, one has to either board a train to Jalgaon (59 km from the cave sites) or book a car to reach the destination. One can also hire a car or auto rickshaw from the Jalgaon railhead.

» By Rail : There are frequent rail services between Mumbai and Aurangabad, the nearest big city from the cave sites. Mumbai is about 403 km from Aurangabad. Trains like Devgiri and Tapovan Express operate daily in evening and morning between the two cities. Aurangabad is also directly linked to Pune. Jalgaon, a railhead on the Central Railways line, is 59 kilometers from Ajanta. Direct trains are also available to Aurangabad from New Delhi and Hyderabad.

» By Bus : Regular tourist bus services are available to the cave sites of Ajanta and Ellora caves from Aurangabad. This includes air conditioned deluxe bus services. The excellent road network in Maharashtra links the caves of Ajanta and Ellora with Mumbai, Pune, Ahmednagar, Jalgaon, Shirdi, Nasik, Dhule, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Indore, Bijapur, and Aurangabad.

Anchoring in Ajanta & Ellora
Ritco ToursThough we tend to club the caves together, Ajanta and Ellora are actually two different cave clusters with a distance of about 100 km seperating them. Furthermore, Ellora is only 30 km from Aurangabad, while Ajanta is about 100 km. Our tours have the option of covering both the destinations in a single day for a fulfilling experince of beholding the mesmeric caves and the intricate carvings - one of the best man ever created.

Proper accommodation is available in the town of Aurangabad. The place has all categories of accommodation available- budget, mid-range and top-end hotels. Though some form of accommodation is also available in villages and towns nearer to the cave sites, the services may not be up to desired levels.

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